Israeli officials removed the barrels installed in the area of the Damascus Gate, the main access to the Old City of Jerusalem, the scene of protests in recent days. The measure seeks to reduce tensions after the violent clashes.
The presence of metal barriers in the area of the Damascus Gate, a promenade outside the Old City of Jerusalem, had been the subject of protests and violent clashes between Israeli police forces and Palestinian citizens.
The measure had been adopted since the beginning of Ramadan to avoid crowds of people at one of the entrances to the walled part of the Holy City, located in the eastern area occupied and annexed by Israel.
The fences prevented Palestinians from sitting on the steps surrounding the Damascus Gate, an emblematic point of the city where they usually meet during the Muslim holy month.
The escalation of violence in recent days aroused concern among the authorities, who feared that the situation would spill over, so they chose to remove the blockades. Even so, the climate of tension remained, with the strong police presence.
A police spokesman told AFP that the decision was made “after consultations with local officials, religious leaders and an assessment of the situation, taking into account the merchants who need to live, and in order to reduce the level of violence “, although he clarified that” our forces are still deployed on the ground and we will not allow the return of violence. “
Hundreds of Palestinians, most of them young, celebrated the reopening of the area. Although there were small disputes and there were some arrests, the situation did not reach the serious incidents of previous nights.
A measure to achieve calm after several violent days
Jerusalem was the scene of violent clashes in recent days over the decision to prevent Palestinians from sitting on the steps around the Damascus Gate.
The peak of tension occurred on Thursday night, April 22, when the Palestinians tried to oppose a march by far-right Jewish protesters, who chanted slogans such as “death to the Arabs.” The Israeli forces repressed the Palestinians and a hundred of them were injured, as were 20 Israeli police officers.
Palestinian protesters threw stones and water bottles at the officers, who responded with stun grenades and water cannons. Garbage container fires were also recorded near the Damascus Gate and, according to Israeli forces, Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Qalandiya crossing between Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
The protests were extended Friday and Saturday in different parts of the West Bank and Gaza, in solidarity with the Palestinians in Jerusalem.
A projectile was fired from the Gaza Strip this Sunday
Beyond the reduction of tensions in East Jerusalem, this Sunday, a new projectile was launched from the Gaza Strip into an unpopulated area of Israeli territory, according to the Israeli Army, without giving further details.
The armed wing of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, had also expressed its solidarity with the East Jerusalem protesters. With that justification, between Friday night and Saturday, they launched 36 rockets at Israeli communities neighboring the enclave, the highest number of shots in more than a year.
On Saturday night three more shots were added, one of which was intercepted by the Israeli anti-missile shield, one exploded in a vacant lot and the remainder fell in the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli military.
With EFE and AFP